Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Nursed. I Pumped. I Stopped.

First I stopped nursing.  Now I stopped pumping.  I don’t know why this issue has me so defensive and emotional but I feel the need to to justify my decision to stop every time I tell people I’m done.

The baby was not good at nursing.  Fact.

I was also less into nursing, though I very much wanted to do it because I do think it’s beneficial.  But after nearly two years of nursing other kids my enthusiasm was a little low.

I exclusively nursed for 6 weeks.  I had mastitis.  I had cracked, bleeding, chewed up n!pples. I had an allergic reaction the hydrogels. I cried every time I nursed.  The baby gained wonderful weight and was happy as a clam. I met with a wonderful LC to try and help the baby nurse better. She couldn’t understand what he was doing while he nursed that was making things so awful. He looked like a great latcher.

I started pumping to give the ladies a break while they healed from the mastitis and breakage. It was so much better. The baby was happy with a bottle.  I pumped 5-6 times a day, even at 3am. I had plenty of milk. I got some Newman’s ointment and the n!pples healed. Situation solved.

I pumped. I drove carpool. I pumped. I worked. I pumped. I made dinner. I pumped. I showered. I pumped. I took care of the big kids. I pumped and bounced a baby. I pumped and I pumped and I pumped and I pumped. Then my milk started slowing down.  I pumped and drove carpool and worked and made dinner and then pumped.  I showered and took care of the bigs and then the baby and then pumped. Then there was even less milk. One day I pumped and there was no milk. 4 months of only pumping and I had no milk left. It was frustrating. Watching the output go from 13oz to 8 to 6 to 4 to 0. Fighting back by drinking litres of water, eating lots of protein, pumping after the milk stopped coming to up my supply but still watching the numbers slide down.

Finally I stopped. It wasn’t worth the 2oz  to have to pump in the morning while getting the kids ready for school. It wasn’t worth the 2oz to pump as I fell asleep at night. It feels selfish to say that I couldn’t be bothered to try and pump more. It feels like I gave up when I should have done more.  I somehow should have been more committed.

I stopped a week and a half ago.  I stopped slowly like they say but figured how painful could it be if there was barely any milk left? Apparently the ladies were hiding some. Its been really painful. I think I’m at that point in the cessation process where the hormones change and it feels like the world will end and all is lost. I believe Swistle wrote a post on this topic once. I’d link to it but the world is ending and you probably read already anyway.  I’m hoping this means that its over soon. That soon I will have my body back and I can make peace with all of this.  No it didn’t go as I’d hoped- life can be like that.  Focus on the positive: the baby is growing, he’s happy, he’s healthy. Will it really matter that I didn’t nurse him as long as I’d hope or that we tried to make a crappy situation work and it didn’t last as long as I thought it would? No, it doesn’t matter. It doesn't matter. I say the words but I don’t always believe them.